This morning I was reading about jellyfish. In particular, the highly toxic box jellyfish. Interesting that this site [Survive Outdoors] says Unless treated immediately, a sting from a box jellyfish is lethal. " because in New Scientist it states there is no anti-venin as yet to treat anyone who has been stung. Basically, if you are stung an Irukandji, you might die and if you brush up against the family member called Chironex fleckeri you *will* die. This site [CSL Box Jellyfish Antivenom] says there is an antivenin.
Why do jelly fish get my attention? because of the stories of a) the impact on tourism that these all-year-round deadly-stingers might have (leading to a conspiricy theory around why information and attributed deaths might be being supressed - ok i made that part up) b) the explosion of jellyfish populations in the oceans due to the sharp decrease in shark numbers and c) that they're not jellyfish at all and have really cool characteristics that put them on a different evolutionary track to their dumb brainless directionless cousins.
*only bothers to tackle (c)*
Lets start with their eyes - they have 24 of them, arranged in clusters of six on the sides of their cuboid (aka boxlike) body - two types of eye per cluster: four simple "pits" (basic light-sensing organs) and two sophisticated eyes with retina, lenses and corneas (detailed colour images). They need these very keen eyes to spot fish - their food source. Amazingly enough - these box jelly fish don't have a brain, but do have bundles of nerves with each cluster of eyes which, scientists suggest, process the information the eyes gather.
The box jellyfish differ in many ways from your garden variety jellyfish in that they actively hunt food. They have directional movement and have been seen to navigate obsticles to get to their prey. This is unlike other species of jelly fish which pulse their bodies to move up and down in the water hoping to bump into something they can sting and eat. The box jellyfish hunt fish and have been seen with half digested fish flesh within their body cavity.
Interesting, aren't they? The most interesting thing about box jellyfish, is that they sleep during the night-time hours. They rest on the seafloor until the sun rises then they're off hunting fish again.
- An antitoxin active against the venom of a snake, spider, or other venomous animal or insect.
- An animal serum containing antivenins. It is used in medicine to treat poisoning caused by animal or insect venom.
A medication that contains an antibody, specific to a toxin, for the purpose of deactivating its harmful effect.